Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dipping our Devilish Toes into Devilian


That's a lot of alliteration, Al! 

For the most part, I'm actually pretty good these days at resisting Hype, with a capital H. Devilian's been bouncing around my social media circles for some time now as it rolled through one beta after a next, and I looked at it long enough to say "Oh, a Diablo Knockoff", and that was pretty much it. But Monday it popped up on the radar again being just a few days from their official launch, and I gave it a bit more consideration. First, I'm a huge fan of the South Korean MMO art style it uses, heavily reminiscent of games like Tera, Blade & Soul, and Aion.  In fact, Bluehole Ginno, the south korean developers, are also the developers of Tera. So that should tell you something about what you can expect in terms of art style. And more to the point - the level of dress, or undress, as it were, you can expect to find most of the female models. Second, it's being published here in the West by Trion Worlds, a publisher I have a fair amount of respect for. Rift is a fine MMO, and I've spent plenty of hours in Defiance. And third, the early access founder's pack was at a very reasonable $20.00 US. So I shelled out a Jackson, patched up my Glyph launcher, and started the download. And so far, I'm quite glad I did. Now, a few days later, here's what I've learned about Devilian.

There's a Whole MMO Here
I think that's probably the biggest point to get across. Because of it's top down nature, if you're like me, you will go into this thinking hubs and instances, aka Diablo 3. At the most, something like Marvel Heroes, with a shared hub, and multiple instance zones.  But make no mistake - Devilian is a full blown MMO draped in Diablo 3 clothing. After the brief tutorial, you're in a shared world with other players the entire time you're playing - save for dungeons, which I'll mention below. There are quest hubs with the typical fare of MMO quests, banking storage, auction houses, a mail system, a full blown friends and guild system, the entire works.  You can party up with friends and do quests together, or you can run everything solo. There are instanced dungeons just like you would find in FFXIV or the like, with elite level trash mobs, and bosses with boss mechanics. And there's a LFG tool to help you party up for the dungeon. Seriously, it's a complete MMO package, and for me, that was the biggest surprise. And a pleasant one at that, because you know - I like MMO's.

You'll need to buy that extra inventory space Dear..
Very Free to Play
Also, that. For me, that's totally fine. I've been working on a F2P game myself for over two years now. And most of the MMO's I play these days are also F2P. So I've become quite comfortable with the various mechanics and systems that are in place to tempt you to shell out some money here or there, and feel free to ignore them or take advantage of them, without their presence getting my ire up, as it might have once. But you should know - there are lots of those systems in place. Very similar in fact, to Neverwinter Nights in that regard. Daily login rewards, a Patron program (ie., VIP priviledges and discounts), and many individual aspects of  the game monetized.  Companies got to make their money, and they know no one wants to pay a subscription these days.

You're a God! No Wait.. You're a Devil! 
So what about the gameplay itself? So far, quite satisfying. It's a little rough around some of the edges. The cinematics sequences are rough, short, and quite cheesy. I occasionally get lag spikes, but nothing game breaking. As for the game itself - hover mouse over monsters, press buttons, watch them explode spectacularly. Similar to Diablo, the boss mechanics in the two dungeons I've been in so far mostly amount to "Get the hell out off the way of the bad".  And the entire time you're leveling, you feel plenty powerful. I may do a follow up beginner's post on actual mechanics - the Devilian form, classes, etc., but honestly there's already plenty of that kind of information available from the betas. But in short, I find the gameplay very familiar, and satisfying. Blow up monsters, collect loot, complete quests, rinse and repeat.

Is the Grind Coming?
This is a Korean MMO. And past games serve as any indicator, that means two things. One, at some point, PvP - and quite likely, open world PvP, will become a thing to deal with. And also, the leveling curve can expected to become grindy. However, this game might just be the exception to that. I've heard of people getting to the level cap - which is currently level 52, in literally a dozen hours or less. And though I know PvP is definitely a thing in the game, So far it appears to entirely be the instanced kind you'd expect in most western MMOs. So I guess we'll see.  For myself, so far the leveling curve has felt quite brisk - especially if you augment your questing with a few dungeons.

Let's Do This!
What I mostly wanted you to know is that this isn't a heavily instanced base, hub-spoke model game. It's very much a full blown Korean MMO, with all the good and the bad that entails. So if that's your thing (and it most definitely is mine) you should check it out. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a daily login reward to collect.